By Fernand Braudel
"In this concise book... Braudel summarizes the wide topics of his three-volume Civilisation materielle et capitalisme, 1400-1800 and gives his reflections at the historian's craft and at the nature of the ancient imagination... Taken as a complete, the e-book is provocative and stimulating. from time to time, it rises to revelation while or 3 sentences of compressed yet very good prose strength us to reassess the occasions of a whole century or the historical past of a continent." -- American old overview.
Read or Download Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism (The Johns Hopkins Symposia in Comparative History) PDF
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Extra resources for Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism (The Johns Hopkins Symposia in Comparative History)
The spice trade formed a part of the main line of the monetary economy. And only large merchants conducted such trade and concentrated within their • "le ,ommerce d·lnd. " is the eighteenth-century French equivalent of the English term ,ountry trad,. that is, local trade in the Far East. for example. -Trans. S4 AFTERTHOUGHTS hands the abnormally large profits derived from it. The same is true for England in the early eighteenth century, the time of Daniel Defoe. It is no accident that throughout the world a group of large merchants stands out clearly from the mass of ordinary dealers and that this group is, on the one hand, very small and, on the other, always connected with long-distance trade, among its other activities.
In fact, the correspondence of merchants and the memoranda of chambers of commerce reveal capital sums looking vainly to be invested. Lacking other and more profitable places for investment, the capitalist would be tempted to acquire land, a safe investment and one that conferred social distinction, but sometimes he would also buy land that could be farmed in a modern manner and become a source of substantial income, as was the case in England, the Venetian state, and elsewhere. Or the merchant would allow himself to be tempted by urban real estate speculation.
The merchant, we are told, divided his activities among various sectors in order to limit his risks; if he lost on cochineal, he might gain on spices. If he botched a business deal, he might come out ahead by taking advantage of exchange rates or by lending money to a peasant to create an annuity. In short, he would follow the advice of the proverb that counseled him not to put all his eggs into one basket. I believe, first, that the merchant did not specialize because no one branch of the commerce available to him was sufficiently developed to absorb all his energy.